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Historic Background
An area lying on the north-west side of the Tywi Valley. During the historic period it lay within the commote of MallŠen, the late Medieval parish of Llanwrda and the later hundred of Caeo (Rees 1932). The commote was held of the independent Welsh lordship of Cantref Mawr until the establishment of the county of Carmarthen in 1284, and in this area was subdivided into Gwestfa Llanwrda, probably administered from a llys at Neuadd Llanwrda (Area 210), and Gwestfa Ystrad Mynys, probably administered from a llys at Ystrad (Area 208). There is evidence for settlement from an early period; a possible Iron Age hillfort lies within the area while the Roman road from Carmarthen to Llandovery, turnpiked in 1763-71 (Lewis, 1971, 43) and now represented by the A40(T), partly forms its south-eastern edge. The road was probably the route taken by the Anglo-Normans advancing from the east under Richard Fitz Pons who established a caput at Llandovery in 1110-16 (Rees n.d.) and subdued Cantref Bychan to the south. This initial campaign may be the context for the establishment of the motte at Glan-Mynys, on the edge of the Tywi floodplain; it may, however, be an independent Welsh foundation lying as it does in association with the possible llys at Ystrad. There may be a Medieval settlement site at Cwmdwr in the west of the area, and a possible moated site lies just beyond the northern edge. The present system of medium-large irregular fields suggests enclosure by the earlier Post-Medieval period, by which time the present pattern of farms had probably developed. The landscape is more-or-less unchanged from that depicted on the Llanwrda tithe map of 1837. There are no villages within the area but there is an interesting late development at Siloh where an early 19th century chapel and public house, on the droving route from Caeo to Llandovery which crosses the northern part of the area, became the focii for a small nucleation. There has been little recent development.

Base map reproduced from the OS map with the permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of The Controller of Her Majesty's Stationery Office, © Crown Copyright 2001.
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Description and essential historic landscape components
This very large character area lies on the northern side of the Tywi valley and includes much of the parish of Llanwrda. From the floodplain of the Tywi at approximately 60m the land rises steeply to over 130 m. To the north of this the area is characterised by rolling hills and small, steep-sided valleys lying between 100 m and 230 m. It is essentially a landscape of widely dispersed farms, small irregular fields and scattered woodland. Boundaries to the fields consist of earth banks topped with hedges. Over such a wide area there are differences in the management of hedgerows, but most are in good condition, though there is a tendency for them to become derelict at higher levels, and overgrown at lower levels. Many of the hedges have distinctive hedgerow trees, and these together with the numerous small stands of deciduous woodland (particularly distinctive on the steep valley sides) and medium-sized conifer plantations lend a wooded aspect to the landscape. Farmland land-use is almost entirely improved pasture, with very little rough grazing and rushy ground. There is no aggregate settlement; the settlement pattern is dominated by dispersed farms. Farmsteads are generally 19th century, stone-built, two-store and three-bay. Clearly over such a large area there is variation in type, but most are in the vernacular tradition, with fewer examples in the more polite 'Georgian' style. Older farm buildings are stone-built. There is a considerable variation in size and layout of these buildings, but mostly they are limited to one or two ranges, but with some larger more complex examples arranged formally around a yard. Most farms have modern agricultural buildings. There is virtually no modern residential development. Apart from a B road which cuts across the northern part of this area and which replaces the route of a Roman road from Llandovery to Pumsaint a little way to the north, all transport links in this area are local and consist of lanes, tracks and paths.

Recorded archaeology comprises a possible Iron Age hillfort, a Medieval settlement site, motte and possible chapel site, and a possible signal station of unknown date.

There are few distinctive buildings including Siloh and Tabor chapels, a former public house, dwellings, bridges and former mills.

To the north and west character areas have yet to be described, but here land rises into a series of low unenclosed and semi-enclosed hills. On other sides neighbouring character areas have similar landscape components to this area; here there is a zone of change rather than a hard-edged boundary.




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